Now that the reality and news station E! is owned by NBCUniversal, there are some major shake-ups on the horizon--the largest of which is the introduction of a huge new scripted programming slate. E! previously announced their intent to enter the fray of scripted television; this morning they released details about the projects they have in development.
The list is lengthy and impressive, including projects from producers such as Ryan Seacrest, Kevin Spacey and 'The Walking Dead's Gale Anne Hurd. E! seems to have taken a "go big or go home" approach to entering the scripted arena, as they've called in the heavy-hitters for their first trip to home plate.
The first such series is 'Songbyrd,' featuring the songs and experiences of songwriter Diane Warren, pictured above. The American songwriter has been nominated for several Academy Awards and Golden Globes. While Warren will not appear in the series herself, her work will act as inspiration and backdrop to the story, much like a modern opera. From writer Krista Vernoff ('Grey’s Anatomy,' 'Private Practice') 'Songbyrd' is described as follows: a young, prolific songwriter of some of the best love songs struggles to find love in her personal life after her inspiration is revealed to be a lie.
Next is 'Laurel Canyon,' a series previously set up at ABC. In this drama a young woman returns to her dysfunctional, extended family in Laurel Canyon with her son after hearing her rock-star legend father has passed away.
From here, we get a trio of projects each inspired by classic literary works: 'Expectations,' based on Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations," 'The Royals' which will offer a new take on William Shakespeare's "Hamlet" and 'The Stand-In' which is a modern re-telling of Mark Twain's "The Prince and the Pauper." Hey, if you're moving into scripted work, why not reach for the best storytellers of all time, right?
Kevin Spacey produces 'Fortunate Son,' a drama with the following description attached: "Framed for a drug deal by a friend from his hard-partying days, society golden boy Michael Baron becomes a criminal informant and is at the mercy of the police. He bounces between his privileged west side of Los Angeles existence and the case he is forced to work in the slums. But his dark past gives Michael some leverage over his fate, and he makes a dangerous deal that could clear his name. Or get him killed."
Which of these upcoming E! projects interests you the most?